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pontoontodd last won the day on December 31 2018

pontoontodd had the most liked content!

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About pontoontodd

  • Rank
    Certified Subaru Nut

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Loves Park, IL
  • Referral
    search engine, lifted subarus and other mods
  • Biography
    Mechanical engineer, off road racer, trail ride and pre run with Subarus.
  • Vehicles
    1999 Legacy Outback, 1996 Impreza

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  1. Went to Arkansas for another weekend of trail riding. Met travelvw on the way down. Met slammo and J just north of the Buffalo River and travelvw led the way from there. From left to right, my 99 Outback, R's long travel Forester w/ dual range, slammo, and travelvw's WRX with KYB AGX struts and King lift springs. One of the first trails he took us down had this sign at the start and it wasn't lying. We were driving fast on some rocky roads by the Buffalo River. I only rode in it for a little while but the WRX rode much better than stock over rocks and dips at speed. A little harsh on the little stuff and not as smooth as our long travel struts at speed but a huge improvement for the money. The road/trail to Eden falls/cave was closed so we continued along the river towards a campsite he had in mind. We hiked out to Whitaker point / Hawksbill and I found a skink and some salamanders and we saw a pileated woodpecker. Next we decided to hike to Glory Hole Falls. This dude was all flexed out in the parking area. We drove the trail down to the campsite in the dark. I was driving the Outback following everyone else and we went over about thirty jumps on the way down. Travelvw and slammo were driving slow, partially due to birds in the road, so I was only able to hit a few with enough speed to get air but when we got to camp we decided that first thing Saturday morning we'd have to get some video of some of them. The road we took down crossed the river but was too deep for us to cross at that time. That night it got down to 20F and some of the water left outside was frozen in the morning. We hit a bunch of the jumps on the way out, not too many of them had smooth and straight landing areas but we got some video (see pictures above from travelvw) and took turns giving everyone rides on the best downhill jump. Hit one small jump in my 99 Outback and the front dug into the dirt and hit a big rock. It was a hard hit and we immediately noticed the wipers scraping on the windshield. We stopped to bend them back up. I broke the passenger side wiper arm and someone noticed oil running out the front of the car. We pulled over for a couple hours. Fixed the wiper arm with some hose clamps and a wrench we'd found on the trail. Pulled off all the skidplates and patched up the hole in the timing cover with some minute epoxy. It was very runny and then would suddenly cure so it was tricky to work with but we basically stopped the leak, didn't have to add oil the rest of the week. Skidplate crimped the coolant hose going to the oil cooler too. Slammo clearanced the skidplate with a sawzall. We put the skidplates back on and got back on the trail and back to hitting jumps. The last trail Slammo had us on followed a deep, wide stream with maybe a dozen crossings. We had come to both ends of it last year and decided to turn around after coming to some of the crossings and never saw the worst part. This time we drove the whole thing. At one point slammo was following the only obvious path which turned sharply out of the stream up a bank and he shortly figured out it wasn't the correct path, seemed on foot like it dead ended. We then spent a couple hours getting all four cars back down off that bank and through a rocky streambed. We used slammo's ramps to good effect getting the Forester out of a tight spot and travelvw wound up using his hand winch to slide the back of his car over to line up. It's a Wyeth Scott and worked great and is clearly much more flexible than using an electric winch. I took slammo's advice and drove back across the stream to an easier place to turn around which seemed easy but I bent a tie rod in the process, first time I've done that. A mile or two later we got to the end of the trail. Near the end of the trail was a campsite along the stream we stayed the night at. M and Z went to work on the tie rod. Across the road from the end of the trail was a campground with outhouses we used in the morning. Had to hit the stream crossing at high speed. First trail of the day immediately took us to a large downed tree. The woods around it was fairly open and we could have just driven around it but slammo wanted to clear the trail. Spent an hour or two with the sawzall and snatch strap pulling that out of the road. Later that day slammo had us on some crazy rocky hill climbs. Travelvw and I each got a flat tire from big sidewall cuts. He bent both front control arms back a bit. There was one long steep rough section of climb that I had to take a few runs at. R had no problems with the low range. This picture was far from the worst of it but we did a lot of miles of this type of rocky climb. We drove through quite a bit of standing water and washed up a bunch of these what I assume were frog eggs. At some point we noticed the Outback's LR trailing arm bracket was loose on the frame. The section of sheet metal that's bolted to had rusted/ripped out and really only the front bolt was holding it on. We stopped along a gravel road and wound up cutting those bolts off and running longer bolts all the way up to the upper section of the body. I told Z to look for some big washers in my bag of fasteners and he jokingly suggested using a wheel spacer. It actually was close enough to the bracket bolt pattern that we were eventually able to get all three bolts all the way through. While we were doing that Travelvw used a strap to a tree to bend his control arms forward a bit so his tires wouldn't rub. The last trail we were on took us to Spainhour falls, a pretty large waterfall you can camp next to. The trail isn't extremely long or difficult but is rocky with a bunch of stream crossings, seemed a lot worse at night than the next morning in the daylight. There were of course people at the campsite so we drove a bit farther down the trail and found an old side road that was blocked off/overgrown to camp at for our privacy and their peace and quiet. The next morning I got the last trailing arm bolt out and put a long one up through the wheel spacer, checked over everything, packed up, and the IL/IN contingent headed out. This was along the trail to Spainhour on the way out.
  2. I think I finally figured out my main hatch opening problem. This is a picture I took of a parts hatch I have showing how the latch and lock works. I'd already taken the power lock actuator out of this one, that is normally in the bracket on the right. The lock works by lifting the slotted mechanism at the bottom. When it is up it is locked and when you pull on the handle for the hatch it just slides past the little L shaped arm at the bottom and the hatch won't open. When it is unlocked the little tab at the lower right pushes on that L arm and opens the hatch. The top of that opening rod where it attaches to the hatch handle is threaded. A while back on my friend's Forester we had to lengthen that a bit since it was not opening fully. So I tried that on mine. Seemed to work for a while but this morning I could not get it open despite a lot of wiggling, pushing, pulling, and cussing. It's hard to see on a good hatch, especially closed, but once I pulled open the interior panel inside the car it looked like the slotted arm at the bottom was too far to the right. That makes it sit on top of that L shaped arm. Then when you try to unlock it, it can't swing down into place. So I shortened the threaded rod and it seems to work fine now, I locked and unlocked it and opened and closed it a bunch of times with no issues. It seems like the root of the problem is that the handle doesn't have a lot of extra throw so that adjustment is very important. Maybe someday I'll make a handle with a longer arm on it. If you're having this problem and your hatch won't open the best thing to do would be to pull the interior panel out and then remove that threaded rod from the handle. Then pull up on the rod, unlock the hatch with key or power lock, and then push down on the rod and open the hatch.
  3. pontoontodd

    Lift block height

    did that chart help at all?
  4. pontoontodd

    Lift block height

    I would skip the 5 speed DR if you're going to run a real tcase, just makes life even harder on the poor 5MT in my experience, but if you already have one and think it will work go for it. I'd go EZ30/36 since you're already swapping in something with different wiring than the chassis. A non dual range 5MT should hold up pretty well with a tcase behind it. Are the toyota axles really that hard to find? Just did a quick search on car-part, looks like $400-600 for an early 80s Toyota front axle and you'd have to travel a few hundred miles. Maybe that's too expensive and too far to go. This might help your D44 front axle length quandary (scroll down to chart): https://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/general-4x4-discussion/449462-info-dana-44-front-axle-shaft-lengths-all-spicer-1967-02-a.html
  5. pontoontodd

    FJ1600 Question

    After all that engine work you should really get it on a dyno sometime to fine tune the jetting and timing. Might as well get it running as best you can by feel first. If it's just a matter of not being able to post it on the forum, I'd put it on youtube. Then you only have to upload it once and can share it anywhere. If it's too big to upload in general you can edit it shorter and/or reduce the resolution.
  6. Got the windshield in the 99 Outback replaced over the weekend. It was very cracked by the end of last year. While it was out I welded up most of the cracks in the cowl and hammered/ground down the high spots that looked like they were hitting the windshield. Hopefully it will last a while without cracking but I doubt it. I've wanted to upgrade the lighting on my Outbacks for a while. There are so many options now, the best modern solution seems to be projectors and I'd read that The Retrofit Source is the best place to get them. They sell 70mm LED projectors for $80 per pair so I figured I'd try to fit a pair in each stock headlight housing. I have some extras so if this didn't work out I could just go back to stock. The first one took me a long time. I may have spent an hour or two prying it apart. By the time I was done it looked like a racoon had chewed it open. Before I did the second one I read online that you just put it in an oven at 200-250F for twenty minutes and it pulls right apart. Here is the first one cut to fit two projectors. Not pretty but no one will really see it behind the plastic cover. The one on the right in this picture doesn't stick far enough out the back to hold it on with a nut so I cut some slots in the bottom of the housing and used a hose clamp. The pictures below are with HID bulbs in the stock location on both sides for high and low. On the passenger side are the two projectors. On the driver's side is a KC 2"x4" spot with an HID bulb. Here are just the low beams. The pattern without the plastic cover is pretty crazy. Ignore the aiming, I did that later. High beams, cover on left, no cover on right. You can see the cover really spreads out the light. We did polish the covers we put on in the end and that reduced the spread some. Projectors on the right with no cover. You can see the pattern is pretty tight. Now with the cover on the right (pre polishing). Clearly far more light output than the two HIDs on the left. Now some pictures with two projectors in each housing and HIDs for the stock high/low beams. Old KC is unplugged (used the plug for projectors). Pictures are blurry but you can get the idea. Notice the utility pole and trees you can barely see in the first pictures show up with the projectors. Also you can see much farther down the road. Low beams High beams - hard to tell from these pictures but the high beams do aim up a bit and shine farther down the road. High beams with projectors. Also even with all these lights on, the AC, and the defroster, voltage was steady at 14V. Still planning on getting a pair of 10 or 12" light bars to fit under the headlights on the 2002 white Outback. If I like those I'll probably put a pair on the 99 too, can't have too much light for desert racing.
  7. pontoontodd

    FJ1600 Question

    Looks great! Did you fire it up? How do you get the engine and fuel cell in? Slide in fuel cell and then engine from the side and then put on the carb, etc? Are the rear CV axles at a huge angle? You should weigh it when it's all assembled and running.
  8. yes We did make them all the same amount longer. I see what you mean now about having the ones farther from the trailing arm pivot longer than the ones closer to the pivot. Thanks for bringing that up, hadn't thought about it. It's not that extreme though, the fowardmost link is about 70% of the way back, the middle one is about 80% of the way back. So even if you made them all an inch longer you're only talking a quarter inch or so error, the bushings flex that much. These links are not much longer than stock, just enough that we can get more droop before we bottom out the inner CVs but the axles don't pull out of the diff at ride height. At the moment it doesn't seem to matter with all the flex in the various bushings but I'll probably experiment with at least making the link closest to the trailing arm pivot shorter when I start on the longer shocks. Will probably just pull one bolt out of that one and cycle it and see if it should be longer or shorter. Fabbed up, painted, assembled, and installed another set on the driver's side last week but haven't really driven the car since then. I'm a little temped to just remove that forwardmost lateral link, it really shouldn't be needed except as others have pointed out the trailing arm bushing is super soft and it would be the only thing controlling toe.
  9. About 2" IIRC. Now I can mock up a longer shock and different shock mount and figure out exactly.
  10. Built some slightly longer lateral links for the 2002 Outback. This will allow more droop before we bottom out the inner CVs. These are the mockup links we made to determine length. One end of each was welded to a bolt that threaded into a nut that was welded in the tube. That let us change the lengths and allowed the ends to pivot since we didn't have bushings or ball joints. Also shows the various link ends. This is one set of links tack welded in the jig. One set of links fully welded. Had to bend the tube for the upper link to clear the bump stop part of the frame. Could have notched the frame but wanted to make this as bolt on as possible. Bushings pressed in. The outer bushing for the upper link is offset so I cut it off and made a spacer. This will allow me to eventually make a spare that will fit either side. Used that same bushing cut down for the front lower lateral link since you can't buy those bushings separate. Compared to stock links. Installed. Had to use a longer bolt for that long link since I made the little bushings on the end so the holes don't get wallered out. Had to put a big point on that bolt to get it started. Then had to pry down on the suspension to bolt the shock back in. Not sure how that's going to go with a longer shock with more droop. I've driven this a little and the axle doesn't pull out of the diff so I think it's good. Made another set for the other side and painted them, just have to press in bushings and put them on the car. I have the shafts and bodies I need now to make the shocks longer. Might be a while before I get to that. Need to make new upper shock mounts and put big holes in the floor to run the shocks through. While they're apart I want to change the valving too.
  11. One of our friends got a 2004 Forester XT recently. We built strut spacers and oil pan and gas tank protection for it. Same as we've done the last few times, I don't think I took any pictures. Will be interesting to see how it works on the trail. One thing it has that we've never seen before is bracing under the front control arms. Looks like it would be a little harder to work on the suspension and might limit lift or travel but that could be fixed. My 99 Outback could really use something like that. If my windshield keeps cracking maybe I'll build something like it.
  12. I have considered a turbo, an STI would really be ideal with the stronger drivetrain. The biggest downside is they're still expensive. Also you can't fit 15" wheels over their giant brakes and I'm not sure our long travel struts would bolt up. They're almost all sedans too. I've thought about a WRX, that might be the best bang for the buck. The low end torque is still terrible though, that's where the EZ36 with variable valve timing would be great, even better supercharged. At that point you'd probably need a 6MT and R180 even in a light car though. Aside from being light but still having decent cargo capacity, I like the first gen Impreza since it has manual climate controls, seats, etc. Fewer things to go wrong even though that stuff holds up better on a Subaru than most other cars. Yes, the white Outback has a 4EAT and EZ30. I think if you're just nicking your rockers occasionally you're probably sitting about right. The more you lift it the worse the cornering will get, you'll start to lose weight on the front end in hill climbs, and just put more stress on everything.
  13. I can just unbolt that plate if I need to use the tow points or winch mount. Since it's an automatic it really shouldn't be flat towed. We've only had to flat tow a car three times I can think of in the five years we've been doing this so it's pretty rare. Most likely if we're going somewhere on the highway this would be towing a lighter car like my Impreza. Winch has also been used rarely, maybe a half dozen times, and a few of those times we should have just used a snatch strap instead. Haven't tested the lift points yet, need to make a 1.25" square post for my high lift and test that out, probably this week. I thought about removing the air box like I did on my Impreza. That seems to be working but I figure the more intake length and twists and turns are in the system the less likely I'll get water in the engine.
  14. I used to do that with my 99 but it doesn't stick out far enough from the lights and fenders to really protect them. I drive in town and trial ride them both and my Impreza. Didn't do any races last year, would like to at least do one in Texas this year. The 99 is much more fun and consistent to drive with the 5MT and steering brake, so it's still my first choice trail riding. It won't last forever though and the cage makes it less comfortable. Keep thinking about what I'd replace the 99 and/or the Impreza with. Leaning towards a first gen Impreza with H6, maybe 3.6 supercharged, long travel struts, and some kind of steering brake. Might be 1000# lighter than the 99 and 50% more power. Main purpose of the bumper is pushing over / rubbing around small trees when necessary. I have a similar plate below the bumper on my 99 and it doesn't make the car run any hotter at highway speeds (tested with gutted thermostat). I have full skidplates on the 99 but at this point I think that would just be extra weight and hassle on this car, trying not to make it super heavy. Even if the airbox gets a hole or crack from a well placed branch, no big deal, just don't want it to be completely smashed. After hitting a stump while blinded by glare one time I've been building these engine skids pretty heavy duty. Like you say it's really handy in the woods to be able to just pull up or back up to a tree without damaging the car. Have done that while winching someone out before too so the car doesn't move. Definitely want to see how your King springs and AGX struts work in Arkansas.
  15. Built a front bumper for my 2002 Outback. 4" square I used on my 99 seems overkill and blocks a lot of the radiator. Went with 2" x 4" tubing for the main beam of this one. The one on my 99 is a little lacking in protection for the fenders and lights since I built it to fit under the plastic bumper cover. I'm not planning on putting the plastic back on this one so I used 2" x 4" by the lights and made it stick out a little wider. Wanted to make the main beam out of one piece of tubing for strength and appearance so I got a little creative on this end clearing the airbox. Used CAD (cardboard aided design) for the layout. Blocked up the beam to get it level with the headlights. Left about 4" between the lights and beam to allow room for a short light bar on each side Also exposes a lot more radiator to direct airflow than my 99. Built some mounting plates. I had to knock out the mounting studs to get the bumper on and off with some other tubes I added later. That was a real pain. Passenger side of beam closed up and tack welded. Bottom of the beam showing lift, towing, and winch points. By my calculations those receivers on the sides should easily be able to support the weight of the car. Tubes to allow sliding over obstacles, support a steel sheet, and brace the radiator support. Diagonal tube will hopefully keep branches and saplings from hooking on the end of the bumper and wrecking the fender when backing up in the woods. Built some tubes on the other side for the same reason and to protect the airbox. Slotted the top mounts to allow the bumper/supports to get pushed back. This is how it looks painted and installed. Blockoff sheet didn't hurt cooling on my 99 and keeps the radiator much cleaner. Would have to remove it for winching or towing, not cutting any holes in it for now. Tried to build it to stick out about 2" from the fenders and lights.